I haven’t read this article. I don’t know the particulars. I don’t think it matters who is calling for delays.
January is already going to be a horrific month. If Iraq delays elections, the month that leads up to those elections will also be a horrific month.
It doesn’t matter when or where. Nothing is going to improve between today and whenever elections occur.
It doesn’t matter if things aren’t perfect. It doesn’t matter if things aren’t so good. It doesn’t even really matter if things are pretty bad.
What matters is that elections occur as scheduled despite terrorist attacks, insurgent offensives, assassinations, and cold feet.
I wrote a month ago:
I expect that December will be a slightly quieter month, casualty-wise, as the insurgents marshal their forces, regroup after what had to be a significant setback at Fallujah, and finalize their plans to turn January into month of hell. The insurgents will focus on hitting softer targets like police stations and daycare centers for a few weeks, then make a major push in the weeks leading up the elections at the end of next month.
We need to weather the storm. Iraqis need to hunker down and demonstrate that they are determined to forge ahead with democracy despite violent opposition. To back down now would signal that violence is indeed the answer to the nagging problem of 21st-Century reality versus 11th-Century thinking. To delay the elections, even for six months, would set back the bigger picture at least a year or two.
The month preceding the elections are going to be filled with bloody carnage, whether it’s next month, next summer, or next year.
January is going to cost us more blood. It’s going to cost the Iraqis more blood. But it will cost our enemies far, far more blood. And when it’s over Iraq will have elected a new government. That’s what this is all about.
If we let the bloodshed of the next sixty days deter us from our goal, that bloodshed will have been in vain. Because we will just have to ramp up for elections again in July or the fall or next year, and the months leading up to THAT election will be filled with more of the same bloodshed. (emphasis, of course, mine)
It doesn’t really matter at this point if everything is lined up nicely. What’s important is that the elections happen and the the slow lurching move toward democracy doesn’t derail.
To delay the elections even a single month would hand our enemies a major victory and simply, through the power of positive reinforcement, encourage them to put even more effort and more recruits into it next time around.